Originally Posted by LoreWelcome back to the Tankspot Dragon Soul raid guide. My name is Lore, and in this video we'll be taking a look at the Spine of Deathwing, the seventh encounter in the Dragon Soul raid instance. You'll need 2 tanks and 6 or 7 healers. Any DPS combination will do, although the fight does favor ranged DPS.
The Spine is a fairly complex encounter with no real main enemy to kill. Instead, your raid is tasked with breaking off three of Deathwing's armored plates to open a vulnerable point for Thrall to hit with the Dragon Soul. Let's get started.
The majority of the fight revolves around controlling three different types of adds. The first of these that you'll encounter are orange tentacles called Corruption. They spawn in set positions on either side of Deathwing's back, and use two main abilities. Searing Plasma is a debuff that gets placed on three random raid members that absorbs 200,000 healing and lasts for 5 minutes or until all of the healing has been absorbed. It also deals a mild amount of physical damage over time, but since there'll be other damage going around, the healing absorption is definitely the bigger issue.
The Corruption's other ability is Fiery Grip. It'll channel this on three random players, which keeps them stunned and deals heavy fire damage over time as long as it's active. However, you can break the channel by damaging the Corruption for about 20% of its health.
When a Corruption is killed, two things happen. First, it leaves an open wound in Deathwing's back that will spawn Corrupted Bloods for the rest of the encounter. It also spawns a Hideous Amalgamation. These need to be picked up and tanked as they deal quite a bit of melee damage. Note that there will always be at least one Corruption active -- if you kill off the last one, a new one will spawn immediately from one of the wounds.
The Bloods and Amalgamations are the core mechanic of the encounter. Whenever a Blood is killed, it does a small burst of AOE damage and leaves a small blob on the ground that the Amalgamations will absorb if they're close enough. Once an Amalgamation has absorbed 9 Bloods, it starts to pulse an aura called Superheated Nucleus that deals a fairly substantial amount of Fire damage to the raid every couple of seconds. Then, once you kill an Amalgamation who's been superheated, it starts to cast a Nuclear Blast. It roots itself in place and, after 5 seconds, deals a massive amount of Fire damage to anyone still within 10 yards that will most likely kill them.
That explosion will also loosen Deathwing's armored plates as long as the Amalgamation is near one when it happens. After a second or two, the plate will fall off and be held in place by a single Burning Tendon. Killing the Burning Tendon causes the plate to come off completely, allowing the raid to move on to the next plate and spawning two more Corruptions.
Deathwing himself doesn't really do much over the course of the encounter. However, if enough of the raid stands on one side of his back, he'll try to shake them off by doing a barrel roll. In order to stay attached, players need to stand in one of the open wounds caused by killing a Corruption. That applies a debuff called Grasping Tendrils that deals a very minor amount of damage every few seconds, slows movement speed, and most importantly, keeps you from falling off. The Barrel Roll will also get rid of any Hideous Amalgamations that are currently active, although the Corrupted Bloods will stay attached on their own. It's also important to note that any players who are currently stunned by Fiery Grip will stay attached also, so if a Grip goes out in the process of doing a barrel roll, you should wait to break the channel until after the roll is completed.
The fight starts by talking to one of the NPC's on board the skyfire, which is followed up by a cinematic. It's important to note that raid members will spawn as soon as the cinematic finishes for them, regardless of whether they cancelled it early or not, so it's recommended to have everyone just cancel it as soon as it appears. You'll then parachute down onto Deathwing's back and the encounter begins.
At the start of the fight, there will be four corruptions active. Since each corruption is able to cast its own Searing Plasma and Fiery Grip, you should immediately kill three of them. Use raid markers or just designate ahead of time which one will be left alive. Now, that'll spawn 3 Hideous Amalgamations, so once all three tentacles are dead, the raid should stack up in one of the open wounds. Deathwing will do a roll to try and shake you off, but as long as everyone's properly attached, all he'll do is throw off the three amalgamations. Remember, if a Fiery Grip goes out, wait to break it until after the roll.
Once the roll is finished, the raid should move back to the center and DPS should finish off the remaining Corruption. A new Amalgamation will spawn, which a tank should pick up and hold next to the first armored plate. Now you want to start stacking up Bloods on it. Both tanks should be taunting as many Bloods as possible over to the Amalgamation, and as soon as they reach it, DPS should kill them off. Be sure not to kill this first Amalgamation until it has all 9 stacks -- you'll probably need to stop DPS around 20% or so and just focus on the bloods. If a blood happens to die too far away from the amalgamation to absorb it, that's no problem. The tank can just move it over top of the blob on the ground.
While you're stacking up bloods, healers will need to keep an eye out for the Searing Plasma debuff. There's a lot of damage going around on this fight, so as soon as anyone gets Searing Plasma, you'll need to throw a lot of healing in their direction to clear it or you won't be able to top them off when a Blood dies, or if they're targetted by Fiery Grip.
Speaking of Fiery Grip, ranged DPS should be watching for the Corruption to cast this and be ready to switch quickly when a Grip goes out to break it as quickly as possible. It's likely that, eventually, the Corruption will be killed in the process. Ranged should start watching the new Corruption for Fiery Grip, and the new Hideous Amalgamation that spawns will need to be picked up by whichever tank is not tanking the amalgamation that you're stacking bloods on. Make sure to keep the new Amalgamation away from the other one so that it doesn't absorb any bloods.
Once you finally reach 9 stacks on the Amalgamation, it should be finished off quickly to start the Nuclear Blast. Tanks and melee DPS should run away as soon as the cast starts to avoid getting caught in the blast themselves. Then, as soon as the tendon is exposed, everyone should focus it down immediately as you have only a short period of time to kill it before it reattaches the armored plate and you need to go through the whole blood stacking process again. Tanks and even Healers should try to help DPS it as much as possible as well. Note that if you don't kill the tendon in time, its health doesn't reset for the next time, but you're quite likely to find yourself being overrun if the encounter goes on too long, so you should be aiming to kill each tendon in one try.
Once the tendon is killed, the armor plate flies off and the raid can move up to the next one. From here the fight basically repeats -- kill off all but one of the Corruptions, stack up in one of the wounds, and once the barrel roll is finished, kill off the remaining corruption and start stacking up bloods again. Note that you'll have a lot more bloods active on the second and third armor plate which will make the blood stacking process much quicker. So, where you probably had to stop DPS on the Amalgamation for the first plate while you finished stacking up bloods, you'll probably have to stop killing bloods until you can get the Amalgamation's health low on the last two plates. Otherwise, the rest of the fight is exactly the same -- break people out of Fiery Grip, heal people afflicted by Searing Plasma, and burn down the tendon as soon as it's vulnerable.
Most DPS classes should be able to use their own cooldowns for every tendon, but it's good to spread out bigger cooldowns like potions and Bloodlust instead of stacking them all on one tendon. In our strategy, we found that using potions on the second tendon and Bloodlust on the third helped make sure we met the DPS requirements for all three.
This fight can feel very frantic and fast-paced, but it's all about keeping things under control. As long as everyone does what they're supposed to and stays calm, you should be able to bring Deathwing down in no time.
If you'd like more information on this or any other Dragon Soul encounter, head over to Tankspot.com and click the Movies link at the top of the page. Thanks for watching, and good luck.